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2-min read

Welcome to Central Jail: Irate Fans Tell Fallen Hero Dileep

A mob ransacked actor Dileep's restaurant in Kochi and he had to request police protection for his other business interests. Even at his hometown Aluva where the superstar knows many by their first names, he was jeered at while being taken to prison.

Neethu Reghukumar | CNN-News18

Updated:July 12, 2017, 10:46 AM IST
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Welcome to Central Jail: Irate Fans Tell Fallen Hero Dileep
File photo of Malayalam actor Dileep.
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His last big release went by the name 'Welcome to Central Jail'. That is the line his angry fans are now throwing at Dileep after the actor was arrested for his alleged role in the abduction and sexual assault of a top actress.

Shortly after his sudden fall from grace, Dileep ran out of fans and friends. A mob ransacked his restaurant in Kochi and he had to request police protection for his other business interests. Even at his hometown Aluva where the superstar knows many by their first names, he was jeered at while being taken to prison.

It's a huge fall for an actor who till yesterday was known as 'Janapriya Nayakan', or 'People's Hero'

Television vox pop captured the anguish of the crestfallen follower, "I was a fan, I watched all his movies. This was not expected," one said. "He has brought disgrace to us," another screamed.

Fellow actors, who till last week backed him despite mounting media outrage, quickly disowned him. Dileep was sacked from the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA). "The victim is also one among us. We have been with her, and we will continue to support her. This is our decision," AMMA general secretary Mammooty said.

Dileep has always played the underdog hero in real life and on screen. If he has delivered pretty decent hits over the last two decades without the starpower of say, a Mamootty or a Mohanlal, it is because many saw him as one of their own. Besides his sharp comic timing, there was something about his ordinariness which endeared him to Malayaless who didn't like to believe in superheroes.

It was this personal connect that was broken when details of the investigation came out. Police say Dileep offered Sunil Kumar alias 'Pulsar'Suni a supari of Rs 1.5 crore for abducting and sexually assaulting an actress who was once his leading lady and a good friend of the family. The actress was assaulted in a moving car in Kochi on February 17 and the act allegedly caught on camera.

Personal enmity is suspected to be the reason for the crime. The actor had a falling out with her a couple of years ago when she reportedly had a hand in his divorce from his first wife Manju Warrier. Other tabloid reports said there were dispute over realty deals.

Dileep has alleged he is being framed but police are confident there is enough evidence around him. "I am innocent, I was trapped. I will prove my innocence," the 48-year-old actor told reporters while he was taken to prison.

Dileep is housed in an ordinary cell along with five others. The jail is in Aluva, the bustling suburban town on the banks of the Periyar river where he grew up from a boy-next-door to a superstar.

| Edited by: Mirza Arif Beg
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